Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: May 30, 2011 4:11 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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YEMEN

Yemeni warplanes carry out airstrikes on a southern town seized by hundreds of Islamic militants over the weekend as the political crisis surrounding the embattled president descends into more bloodshed. Military units loyal to him mount a fierce assault on the southern city of Taiz, which has been a hotbed of anti-government protests since the start of the uprising in early February. A doctor at a field hospital set up in the city's main protest camp said at least 20 demonstrators were killed. President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has clung to power despite months of daily protests, defections by key allies and international pressure to go, has repeatedly warned that Islamic militants and al-Qaida would seize control of the country if he steps down. At the same time, he has intensified a crackdown on protesters.

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SYRIA

Residents use automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades to repel advancing government troops in central Syria Monday, putting up a fierce fight for the first time in their two-month old revolt against President Bashar Assad's autocratic regime. The armed resistance adds a new element to an already blurry situation and raises the possibility that the popular uprising that had so far taken the form of peaceful protests by unarmed demonstrators may escalate into a Libya-style armed conflict. Authorites claim dozens of soldiers and security officers have been killed during the 10-week protest. The death toll among demonstrators has topped 1,000.

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LIBYA

Moammar Gadhafi is ready for a truce to stop the fighting in his country, visiting South African president says after meeting the Libyan ruler, but he lists familiar Gadhafi conditions that have scuttled previous cease-fire efforts. The South African president. Jacob Zuma, says Gadhafi is ready to accept an African Union initiative for a cease-fire that would stop all hostilities, including NATO airstrikes in support of rebel forces. "He is ready to implement the road map," Zuma says, and Gadhafi insists that "all Libyan be given a chance tp talk among themselves" to determine the country's future. He does not say Gadhafi is ready to step down, which is the central demand of the rebels. Five Libyan army generals who defected from Moammar Gadhafi's regime are appealing to fellow officers to join them in backing the rebels.

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EGYPT

A prominent Egyptian activist says he has been summoned for questioning by the country's military rulers over comments criticizing their human rights record. Hossam el-Hamalawy, 33, says he was asked to appear before military prosecutors a day later over his remarks on a popular television program. On the program Thursday, el-Hamalawy said the head of the military police was responsible for reported human rights abuses. He says the TV presenter, Reem Maged, was also summoned for questioning. El-Hamalawy is among the best-known activists and bloggers in Egypt in recent years. He has kept a record of alleged human rights abuses by authorities. He was among the public faces of the popular revolution that forced former President Hosni Mubarak to step down on Feb.11.